The Dune MMO is turning to Valheim to help build its thirst meters

Dune: Awakening
(Image credit: Funcom)

Dune: Awakening's creative director has revealed how the upcoming survival MMO is taking inspiration from Valheim.

The prospect of an open-world MMO set in the epic sci-fi universe created by Frank Herbert is certainly an exciting one. Still, those that aren't that enthused by survival mechanics might be slightly put off by that aspect of Dune: Awakening. To quell fans' fears that simply surviving in the sandy world of Arrakis will be an overwhelming struggle, developer Funcom has revealed it's approaching the game's survival systems "from the viewpoint of a little more accessibility" so as not to "punish players in a ridiculously harsh way".

In an interview with our friends at PC Gamer (opens in new tab), Dune: Awakening's creative director Joel Bylos explains what you'll need to take into consideration if you're to survive on the desert planet. "We're very focused on a few tight core survival mechanics. Like shelter: sandstorm shelter," Bylos says. "Sandworms themselves are a giant threat in the world. If you walk on sand, they will come. If you create vibrations, they will come. So you have to think about how you approach traversal in the game world. And obviously, water. Those are our three key [systems]."

According to Bylos, the objective is to have players constantly think about these aspects and "feel these tensions all the time" without sacrificing their enjoyment in the process. He uses Valheim as an example of the type of survival experience the team hopes to achieve. The popular indie disregarded the more traditional survival formula for one that could be enjoyed by players who aren't necessarily fans of the genre. Bylos explains that, much like how you can't starve to death from not eating in Valheim, you won't be severely punished if you're not constantly using spice in Dune: Awakening. Hopefully, this also means that you won't keep dying of thirst if you're not continually glugging water during your stay on Arrakis.  

Bylos adds, "There are assumptions that have just been there since the start of the survival genre, because the first [survival] game did them. And everybody else sort of copied that, so we're rethinking some of those paradigms. And so I would say that we want to create these very strong survival tensions, but we also don't want to punish players in a ridiculously harsh way. So we're kind of trying to find a nice balance with that."

Dune: Awakening is launching on PS5, Xbox Series X and PC, but Funcom has yet to set a release date. In the meantime, you can sign up for the beta via the game's website (opens in new tab).  

To see what titles are coming your way in the near future, check out our guide to new games 2023.

Anne-Marie Ostler
Freelance Writer

Originally from Ireland, I moved to the UK in 2014 to pursue a Games Journalism and PR degree at Staffordshire University. Following that, I've freelanced for GamesMaster, Games TM, Official PlayStation Magazine and, more recently, Play and GamesRadar+. My love of gaming sprang from successfully defeating that first Goomba in Super Mario Bros on the NES. These days, PlayStation is my jam. When not gaming or writing, I can usually be found scouring the internet for anything Tomb Raider related to add to my out of control memorabilia collection.